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HomeHuman ResourcesRecruitmentHow to avoid discrimination in the recruitment process

How to avoid discrimination in the recruitment process

No matter how you recruit your employees, one essential factor to the process must be that you are not in any way discriminatory to candidates. Discrimination in the workplace is illegal, and this includes and encompasses all aspects of your business. When you are recruiting, you must make sure you are accurately representing your business.

Be familiar with the laws in place

Firstly, you can avoid any legal setbacks by getting clued up on the discrimination laws that exist. This includes training your staff so that everybody is familiar with the best practices to follow. Employment rights protect potential employees as well as current employees.

Under the Equality Act of 2010, discrimination on the grounds of characteristics is unlawful. They include the below factors:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy or maternity
  • Gender reassignment

It may be news to you that job applicants are able to make a claim against your business if they believe they were not selected for interview due to unlawful discrimination. It will be up to you to provide sufficient evidence that you followed fair recruitment procedures.

For example, if you asked a potential female candidate at an interview if they planned on having children in the future, this would be classed as discrimination. Similarly, if you take into account a person’s age in the recruitment process, comment on it and let it influence your decision, this is classed as discrimination.

You can ensure this does not happen, however, through relevant training, sufficient job descriptions, and appropriate job advertisements.


One positive way to ensure your company as a whole are aware and informed of appropriate practices throughout the recruitment process is through sufficient training opportunities. Both employees and employers can benefit from unconscious bias courses, for example, that aim to inform and educate, so that you can promote a culture of diversity in your immediate workplace.

Job descriptions

You should endeavour that every job description clearly describes the exact specifics of the position, and what the role will entail. Outline the tasks that will be carried out and the skills needed. Personnel specifications should only describe relevant requirements that are objective and non-discriminatory.

Why is this necessary?

This can help you to narrow down more suitable candidates straight away as you will have clearly laid out the requirements of the job, giving those reading it a strong idea as to whether they would be suited to the job or not. Ensure the post does not make any reference to a certain age or gender. Avoid general terms, and outline ‘essential’ skills, and additionally, skills that are ‘desirable.’

Advertisement process

The advertisement process is also essential to get right. Your job advert should not be accessible and widespread to ensure that you are not limiting those who desire to read it. You can make this as easy as possible for potential applicants by:

  • Making the application process as easy as possible
  • Ensuring instructions are clear, and all relevant information is given
  • Not asking for unnecessary, personal information that could influence the decision-making process.
  • Encouraging as many suitable applicants as possible to apply
  • Varying the platforms you advertise on – this should include local newspapers, social media, community groups, and job sites, for example.

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